It’s been very clear that social media websites were gamed by outside actors, using bots, to help promote Donald Trump’s presidential run in 2016. Those “bots” were also used to push real, unreal, and surreal stories across the entire political spectrum. From the far right conspiracy theory, deep state white nationalist fringe to the far-left Marxist camps; and probably most notably deep into the strange venn diagram where a small slice of Bernie supporters meet up with a lot of Ron Paul supporters.* CNET reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee posted a PDF on Friday that gives some numbers of how lop-sided Russian-linked bots were in promoting Republican candidate Trump in comparison to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
In a document posted by the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday (PDF), Twitter revealed that Russian bots retweeted Trump almost 470,000 times between Sept. 1 and Nov. 15, 2016. During that same timeframe, the Russian-linked accounts retweeted candidate Hillary Clinton less than 50,000 times, Twitter told the committee.
There’s a reason that Donald Trump didn’t win the popular vote. He has never been very popular. One thing to keep in mind is that this is Twitter’s current analysis. The harsh reality is that these numbers have a very high likelihood of being under-reported because admitting that your x amount of your consumers are not actually humans hurts your companies value. Considering how other social media giant Facebook has been incredibly contradictory in their admissions over the past year with similar internal information on their election-cycle traffic, it isn’t a stretch to imagine that a year from now could see Twitter revealing that they had discovered even more fake accounts that were active during the election cycle.
Still, the new disclosure from Twitter further illustrates how Russia meddlers manipulated the platform, something the company earlier this month said was more widespread than initially estimated. It’s now identified 3,814 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, which was the seat of the Russian propaganda effort. In October, Twitter executives testified in front of Congress that it had found roughly 2,700 accounts affiliated with the election interference.
You can see the pdf here.